I’ve got a little secret, and it’s something you probably know if you’ve been reading the Disney Food Blog for a while. I have some serious favorites among Disney restaurants.
But when it comes time to discuss great dining spots at Epcot, the competition suddenly grows fierce. Still, relative newcomer Via Napoli has won out as tops on my list since it opened a few years ago.
There are lots of reasons for that. The restaurant boasts the best pizza in all of Walt Disney World in my opinion — it comes closest to ideal than anything I’ve tasted since I moved from NYC a few years back. (Sigh. I still miss a Lombardi’s slice now and then.)
And truth be told, we visit Via Napoli pretty much every time I set foot within those Big Purple Gates. But we are creatures of habit, so I try not to report TOO much on dishes that you’ve seen before. Recently though, we visited and ordered some new things! So it’s high time to share with you the story of our latest visit.
Via Napoli is a study in contrasts. From the outside, the restaurant, which anchors the back of the Italy Pavilion, is stately and grand, with an imposing, almost temple-like facade.
But inside, the space is one part grandiose, and one part whimsy, with just a sliver of chic thrown in for good measure. The feel here is that someone with a wonderfully modern aesthetic decided to open a restaurant in an ancient building. They kept the best of the old, and overlaid a feeling of modern and new.
Huge, floor-to-ceiling arched windows separate the waiting area from the dining room, and you begin to catch a glimpse of the action from here. Look up in the foyer to see this gorgeous, colorful chandelier that puts me a little in mind of Mardi Gras.
The main dining room is one huge, cavernous space (and LOUD!!!), but it’s broken up a bit by the ceiling of all things! Seriously — look up. There is a soaring atrium in the center, allowing for plenty of natural light. But you also have vaults supported by columns, which rescue the space from feeling like one large warehouse-type room.
The actual walls of the restaurant are covered in frescoes that have been chipped at to convey a sense of age. The blue and green backgrounds of the paintings contrast nicely with warm colors on the floor and ceiling.
Seating is mixed, featuring both banquettes and chairs.
While the building appears to be ancient, wall art also conveys a look at the past — the more recent past, though. You’ll find lots of interesting Italian travel posters throughout the restaurant.
Once you’re in the main dining room, you’ll spy [Read more…]